President Donald Trump hasn't always taken kindly to hard questions, but in his most recent public event, he had no choice. During his Oct. 15 town hall event with NBC News, incumbent Trump faced a direct and assertive interview from media host Savannah Guthrie. Guthrie, a multi-platform American journalist and attorney, rigorously questioned Trump on a number of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, his spreading of misinformation on social media, and his repeated refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power should he lose to Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Twitter was living for it — and these tweets about Trump's town hall with Savannah Guthrie stan the media host as an unexpected star.
One of Guthrie's first questions was about Trump's decision to go maskless at his Oct. 12 Florida rally, held just ten days after his COVID-19 diagnosis, as well as his handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Trump responded by citing his presidential duties as a reason to go maskless, saying "I'm president, I have to see people." However, Guthrie was quick to check him: "As president, you're a leader, and a setter of an example," she said. "You're not wearing a mask when your administration is saying 'the best practice right now is to wear a mask,'" she added.
Guthrie also focused on the White House's decision to embrace "herd immunity" as a strategy to combat the virus — one that would leave over 80% of America's population vulnerable to contracting the virus. When asked if he supported herd immunity as a strategy, Trump justified the actions of his administration so far, saying "We did the right thing." The United States has one of the highest coronavirus death rates per capita in the world, and as of Oct. 16, over 218,000 lives have been claimed by the virus, per The New York Times.
For a lot of people, it was a refreshing changeup after the first presidential debate, in which Trump argued with the moderator and repeatedly interrupted and spoke over Biden, his opponent. People on Twitter were lauding Guthrie for her straightforward questioning, stating that while some moderators have allowed Trump to evade questions and provide inaccurate responses, Guthrie took the president to task:
Guthrie also checked Trump on his social media habits, asking, "just this week you retweeted to your 87 million followers a conspiracy theory that Joe Biden orchestrated to have Navy Seal Team 6 killed to cover up the fake death of Bin Laden. Why would you send a lie like that to your followers?" This conspiracy theory, although debunked as a hoax in 2011, is touted as fact by many far-right conspiracy theorists.
Trump justified his actions by stating "That was a retweet. That was an opinion of somebody ... I'll put it out there, people can decide for themselves. Guthrie was visibly perplexed by the president's response, saying, "you're the president, you're not someone's crazy uncle who can just retweet whatever." It was a soundbite of the night, and Twitter ran with it.
After Trump brought up the election, Guthrie asked the president about if he would concede if he loses in November. In the past, Trump has repeatedly refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power should Biden win the presidency, saying "The only way we lose this election is if it is rigged" during an Aug. 17 rally in Wisconsin. After Guthrie reminded the president of his previous statement, Trump once again brought up voter fraud, stating "every day, [the news] is talking about ballots that are corrupt, that are fraudulent." Guthrie countered his claims of voter fraud, saying his own FBI director disagrees. In late September, FBI Director Christopher Wray publicly confirmed to Congress that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
In the midst of all this political turmoil, registered voters across the country are rushing to cast their ballots. With the election only 19 days away, the United States is experiencing a record wave of early voters — as of Oct. 15, over 17 million people have already voted in the 2020 presidential election, per CNN.